Flower power

HAPPINESS IN A FLOWER: Sunnydales Farm owner Sara Peacock is happy among the sunflowers.
- Advertisement -

About 10,000 blooming sunflowers at Sunnydales Farm have been lighting the hearts of hundreds of people, alongside raising funds for Diabetes Youth Canterbury.

The sunflower fields, on the Peacock family’s lifestyle block at Elgin, on the outskirts of Ashburton, were open to the public for the first time, over the past two months.

It has been a successful family project for Sara and Roger and their four children.

Gracie, the eldest at age 13, was diagnosed with type one diabetes two years ago, Sara said.

It’s an autoimmune lifelong condition, and can affect anyone at anytime.

Sara said since the diagnosis, Diabetes Youth Canterbury had been valuable to the whole family. The organisation supported families, as well as organising gatherings and a family camp for members.

The sunflower project saw Gracie and her siblings help with sowing and watering, then welcoming people through the gates for a small admission fee.

FAMILY PROJECT: Signage at the farm gate was made by the children with their grandparents visiting from the UK.

Grandparents Pat and Bryan Peacock, visiting from England, also helped, assisting in painting signage for the gate.

The sunflowers, of a range of different varieties, were left to grow naturally, spray-free, thriving on just water and sun.

Visitors were encouraged to walk, sit and take photos among the 2m tall crop.

They could also pick their own to take home.

Proceeds from the sale of stems went to the diabetes organisation. Altogether about $250 was raised.

‘‘I’ve really loved doing it, and am looking forward to next year,’’ Sara said.

It was the first time the family had tried the sunflower venture.

She estimated they had about 300 people through the gates. It included twilight evenings, private bookings and people having picnics.

She was already looking ahead to opening the family’s Sunnydales Farm again next year.

HAPPY PLACE: Sara Peacock says planning is already under way for next year and promises to be bigger and better.

‘‘Sunflowers just make you so happy, and there is just something about walking through them; tranquil, I think, and everybody leaves with a big smile,’’ she said.

‘‘Just happiness in a flower, aren’t they.

‘‘We will be back next year bigger and better. We have lots planned.’’

In the neighbouring paddock, grazing highland cows benefitted from being fed sunflower leaves. The animals, including the chickens, love them, she said.

Following their final open night, the family took stems to the Ashburton Farmers’ Market and Riccarton Market in Christchurch to sell.

Both plots have now been left to the animals for grazing before the fields are mulched into the ground.